Shipping in Early Arcadia

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The Arcadia Pier

Shortly after his arrival in 1880, Henry Starke begins building a bridge pier at the end of Lake Street. It eventually extends 1000 feet into Lake Michigan.

The Channel Opens

The pier is exposed to Lake Michigan's moods. The natural channel at the north end of Bar Lake is shallow and often filled with sand. In 1893, the new man-made channel provides reliable access to Arcadia's safe harbor.

The John D. Dewar

From the late 1800s through 1906, the John. D. Dewar carries passengers and freight between Frankfort and Manistee with stops in Watervale, Burnham, Arcadia, Pierport, Onekama, and Manistee.

The Steamer Arcadia

The Steamer Arcadia carries lumber for the Starke Land & Lumber Company sawmill. When the Starke sawmill burns down in 1906, the Arcadia is sold.

The Pere Marquette Line

In the spring of 1907, the Pere Marquette No. 6 joined the fleet of "Black Boats" and replaced the John D. Dewar in providing passenger and freight service to Arcadia.

The Channel Closes

In 1905, the US Government takes over the maintenance of the channel and begins a program of trying to keep the channel open by dredging only, not by making any repairs to the piers. The piers fall apart, dredging is ineffective, and the channel is often closed.

Shipping Timeline

This is a consolidated list of Arcadia shipping events by date.

Pere Marquette No. 6 entering Arcadia's harbor.


Schedule for the John D. Dewar


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